Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak in 2020 to 15 with a convincing straight-sets victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dubai Championships.
Both players came out at a high level in the opening five games of the match, hitting the ball smoothly in the warm Dubai conditions.
But in the sixth game of the set, Djokovic made his move on Kohlschreiber earning two break points.
Kohlschreiber saved the first but Djokovic got the first break of the match with a forehand winner into the open court.
Djokovic stamped his authority on the match by consolidating the break and after 31 minutes, the world No 1 took the set 6-3.
In the opening game of the second set, Djokovic produced a breathtaking backhand drop shot to earn two more break points and on the first attempt, he rifled a backhand down the line for a winner to assume full control.
Djokovic created three more break points on the Kohlschreiber serve and the Serbian drilled another backhand past his opponent for a winner to lead 3-0.
After losing five games in a row, Kohlschreiber finally got on the scoreboard in the set when he held for 6-3 4-1.
But Djokovic upped his level again to lead 5-1 and in just 59 minutes he wrapped up a 6-3 6-1 win.
After the match, Djokovic took time to pay tribute to Maria Sharapova, who announced her retirement from the sport earlier in the day.
He said: “I would like everyone to give her a big round of applause for everything she has done in her career. She deserves it, definitely. She’s a great fighter. As dedicated as someone can really be in our sport.
“The will power and the willingness to overcome all of the obstacles she had especially in the last five or six years with injuries, surgeries and trying to fight back and come back to the court and play on her desired level is truly inspirational to see what a mind of the champions she has.
“I’m sorry that it had to end with an injury but at the same time she had a fantastic career, she can be proud of herself.”
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